"A Postmodern Fable" is an essay by French post-modernist Jean-Francois Lyotard, where he tells a story detailing the evoloution of life on the Planet Earth from the first begininnings of The Sun through the development of life and civilization, to the final exit of human life, or something resembling human life, from the earth at the time of the sun's final death.
In many ways, this work represents what it seems Lyotard
has spent his career renouncing: a Hegelian narrative that explains everything. However, as extensive as this fable is, Lyotard claims that it is post-modernistic rather than a traditional eschatological fable, because it does not promise an ultimate end, but rather just talks about a continuing process of openness, where material constructs and language both allow opportunities for novelty and further development. In fact, Lyotard, making a somewhat unusual political endorsements, says that the form of government known as a liberal democracy allows uncertainty to be built into human society, thus maximizing the space needed for future scientific progress and social progress.
In the end, although Lyotards fable does have humanity surviving in a possibly altered form, he still says that it is melancholy because it denies that there can be an end to human life, that there could ever be a finished teleology, defined as return to a perfect past.
Also an interesting essay because it seems to closely parallel the revelations in the movie End of Evangelion that Dr. Ikari Yui created the Evangelion Units to continue humanities legacy into the future,after an explosion of the sun, and not (as others would wish) to return humanity to a state where "Souls and minds will become one, attaining eternal balance". I would have to say, after watching Dr. Ikari's demeaner, I find nothing melancholy about it.